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NINI LOST AND FOUND by Anita Lobel Kirkus Star


by Anita Lobel & illustrated by Anita Lobel

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-85880-2
Publisher: Knopf

Temptation leads Nini the tabby cat out an open door, away from her cozy house, through a vibrant garden and beyond, into dark woods. Nini’s comfortable, compartmentalized indoor life appears in appropriately rigid, rectangular panels at the beginning of her story; she sits by the fire, curls in a tangle of yarn, snuggles in a quilt, all within safe little boxes. As she meanders through the garden’s long grasses and bright zinnias, however, straight, structured boundaries give way to floating, sunny scenes on white space. Nini thinks, “Oh, this is really, really, really nice.” Upon her entrance into the wild woods, whiteness completely disappears; branches, brambles and animals consume double-page spreads, running right off the borders. Night falls, and the watercolor-and-gouache paintings turn dark and dizzying; their once-charming intricacy sours into sickening confusion. Poor Nini! Lobel captures a cat’s clear, opinionated and lovably hedonistic thinking in her simple storytelling. She also introduces the joys of home, the thrill of freedom and the scariness of the unknown to young readers, who will strain to hear the calls of Nini’s owners in the night. (Picture book. 4-8)